Thursday, May 5, 2011

An awful lot of Habsburgs and Markets. Wien und Praha, Part VIII

I took too many photos to post here, so please go see more if you're interested!

April 9, 2011

After a wonderful night at the opera, I woke up bright and early for my first full sightseeing day in Vienna. I fortified myself with delicious Hotel Alexander breakfast, packed Berlin Bag (my trusty travel companion since my first trip to Germany) with my guidebook and camera, and trekked up to the Spittelau U-Bahn stop.

I enjoyed a relaxing twenty or so minute train ride down to the Schönbrunn Palace, a beautiful former residence of the Habsburgs, Emperors of a Whole Lot.
The Schönbrunn Palace

A hilarious contrast was the Östermarkt (Easter market) in front of the beautiful Baroque palace:
What would the Habsburgs think?

Before exploring the extensive palace grounds, I shopped around the market. One could buy an Absinthbowle...?
Absinthe bowls?

Hungarian marionettes:
Hungarian Marionettes II

And most ubiquitously, delicately hand-painted eggshells:
Delicately handpainted eggs

The palace grounds were completely free. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so I opted to not pay for the inside tour and instead just enjoy the gardens.

Behind the palace were acres of gardens, mazes, and walkways. The Great Parterre was lined with mythological statues made between 1750-1775.
Mythological statues by Christian Beyer
Maze bordered by statues

Across the Great Parterre from the Palace was the Gloriette, up on the hill:
I'm happy here

I trekked across the gravel to the Neptune fountain...
More mythological statues

...where I surreptitiously and shamelessly took many pictures of runners. There were runners EVERYWHERE. Deep in the depths of my shin-related hiatus, I was jealous. But they rocked.

Schönbrunn is home to the world's oldest zoo, founded in 1752.
World's Oldest Zoo
(See another runner?!)

Up up up I climbed to the Gloriette:
Walking up to the Gloriette
Enjoying die Gloriette

From which you can see amazing views of Vienna:
I climbed up far!
Votivkirche off to the right?

I paused in my journey to have an Eiskaffee (coffee with ice cream in it) in the Gloriette Cafe. The waiter was just a touch on the snooty side and I felt awkward photographing my drink. So I didn't. I regret that now.

Next, it was to the woods!

I met an adorable squirrel with AWESOME ears:
Adorable Squirrel! Fuzzy ears!

I stumbled across the Obelisk fountain, built in 1777. The hieroglyphs on the obelisk supposedly tell the history of the Habsburg dynasty, however, hieroglyphs were not in fact deciphered until 1822. Soooo whatever. Looks cool?
The Obelisk Fountain
Joseph and Maria Theresa

Finally tiring of the beautiful park ("Schönbrunn", by the way, means "beautiful fountain"), I hopped back on the U-Bahn and headed to the Naschmarkt.
Wonderful market

This wonderful open-air market has many permanent stands selling fruits, vegetables, coffee, Döner kebab, scarves, candy, bread, fish, chocolate...and a huge flea market with anything you've ever wanted to find used and cheap! My prize find: a beautiful pair of opera glasses. (The day after I saw the opera. By this time, though, I had purchased a ticket to Carmen in Prague, so I knew I'd use them.) They are pink and silver, (as the somewhat sketchy saleslady claimed) antique, and work just fine. I took pictures at the opera house in Prague, so you'll see them soon.

I walked a bit over to the Hofburg Palace (another Habsburg residence), stopping first in the Burggarten to say hello to Mozart:
Hanging out with Mozart
Child enjoying Mozart Statue

And then on to the palace:
Another Habsburg residence

I sat a spell in the Volksgarten on the other side and then said hello to Parliament:
Thoroughly enjoying Vienna

Exhausted, I caught the D-Tram back to my hotel for a good nap. Yes.

Refreshed, I D-Trammed back down to die Innere Stadt for dinner and a performance of Bach's Johannespassion at Stephansdom. And photos.

Sun and shade

Walkin' around:

I made the mistake of eating dinner outside. The wind was biting cold. I froze. So immediately after finishing, I found a warm cafe and ate a slice of famous Sachertorte (with a side of heavy whipped cream) VERY slowly.
The Famous Sachertorte

It was REALLY good.

I ate ALL of the whipped cream, too.


I perused some shops to kill more time before the concert:
Mozart heads are delicious
No Kangaroos in Austria!

Heh heh heh.

And then, it was time to go inside.

I bought the cheap tickets (of course), and so sat in the left aisle, directly to the left of the choir. I mean if I turned my head 90 degrees to my right, I could stare at the choir's profiles. The orchestra was to my right way behind me. The acoustics were...unique. ;)

My seat block:

My view of the choir's chairs, and the interesting contrast of Old Cathedral and New Technology:
Technology contrast

Cathedrals are COLD. I shivered the whole time.
Freezing but happy

Applauding the conductor:
My view. Ha!

Despite the temperature and the unique acoustics, it was a fabulous experience to cap my very full Viennese day!



Sarah@The Flying Onion said...

Oh my word, these pictures are absolutely *stunning.* What a gorgeous city! And you look gorgeous as well. Keep having fun! :D

physikerin said...

Thanks, Sarah! :D